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Sculptors supplement the art of the forest

Update: October, 29/2016 - 09:00
Foreign object: Seeds, steel, 1,970kg, by Nguyễn Ngọc Lâm.
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Sculptures and paintings that express life through colours and shapes are on display as part of the Art in the Forest 2016 (AITF) programme.

AITF is a visual art project organised by Flamingo Đại Lải Resort in the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc. After the success of AITF 2015, a camp for artists was held from July to October this year. This exhibition is the result of the creative process of the artists.

The exhibition features five impressive sculptures inspired by nature, including Những Hạt Mầm (Seeds) by Nguyễn Ngọc Lâm, Mưa Nhiệt Đới (Tropical Rain) by Lê Lạng Lương, Sức Mạnh Vùng Đất (Strength of Earth) by Đàm Đăng Lại, Kết Nối (Connection) by Khổng Đỗ Tuyền, and more specifically, Rừng Tia Nắng (Forest of Sunlight) by Japanese artist Katsumi Mukai.

The artists were provided with good conditions in which to work. The large space at the resort also allows them to create imposing sculptures which weigh several tonnes and cover large areas.

Mukai, 80, impressed visitors with his 26-tonne artwork made from ironwood, a tremendous feat considering his age.

“I always love working and creating,” he said. “I worked on large-size artworks when I was young, so now when I’m getting old, I still work without getting tired.”

“Ironwood is a precious and rare material that I don’t have chance to work with in Japan. When I completed the Forest of Sunlight, I used the pieces of wood left over to create smaller artworks.”

Mukai has exhibited his work once in Việt Nam at the exhibition Echoes of Nature organised at the Việt Nam Museum of Fine Arts.

The sculpture Forest of Sunlight is inspired by Vietnamese nature. During his three-month stay in Việt Nam, local nature and culture impressed him so much that he preserved the feeling and memories in sketches and paintings, like a visual diary. Mukai said he expected that one day he will showcase the artworks created during his time in Việt Nam.

Alongside these sculptures, visitors can also see 14 works by painters Phạm Tuấn Tú and Trịnh Minh Tiến on different materials like canvas, wood, and even automobile hoods. Despite different materials and inspirations, they still focus on a common subject – religion and belief. That’s why they collaborated on the exhibition entitled Paradise’s Shadow.

Space for art

AITF was officially launched in 2015 after years of preparation, with the aim of changing the site to a culture and art centre which keeps and promotes contemporary artworks in Việt Nam.

 “It includes unlimited creative criteria of ideas, materials, sizes and way of organisation,” said artist, curator Vũ Hồng Nguyên, chief organiser of the programme.

“We desire to find emerging people working in the imaging fields with talent, enthusiasm, timeless art thinking and wish to become a professional artist. We have chosen among various art forms, outdoor sculpture and paintings as the main starting point for AITF.”

In fact, beside new forms of composition, Việt Nam’s contemporary sculpture is still facing challenges and difficulties in finding its position in the market, he said.

“Sculptural works need space and landscape connection – important factors to create overall value for the works. For not only sculpture but also other visual art forms, AITF will hopefully be a new wind to encourage artists to compose excellent works.”

At present Việt Nam has not had large and long-term project for arts like AITF, so Nguyên stressed that this project will bring good things for art at this time. Plans for AITF have been made for the next 10 years. — VNS


Craftsman: Sculptor Katsumi Mukai works on the sculpture Forest of Sunlight.
Metal drop: Tropical Rain, steel, 2,500kg, by Lê Lạng Lương.

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